New Poll Shows Muddy Picture of Democratic Races for Governor, Attorney General With 8 Days to Go

A new poll released Monday showed J.B. Pritzker leading the field in the Democratic primary for Illinois governor, though nearly a third of voters remained undecided with just eight days left until Election Day.

Pritzker touted a 19-point lead over his Democratic rivals, according to the poll conducted by Capitol Fax and We Ask America.

After pouring more than $60 million into his campaign, the billionaire Hyatt heir captured 35 percent of the vote among likely Democratic voters polled. Chris Kennedy came in second place with 16 percent, while state Sen. Daniel Biss sat in third with 15 percent. The remaining three candidates running for the Democratic nomination — Bob Daiber, Tio Hardiman and Robert Marshall — made up less than 3 percent of the vote.

While the poll showed Pritzker with a fairly significant lead, 31 percent of voters remained undecided with just over a week to go in the primary race.

Some of the candidates pushed back on the poll numbers, with Kennedy's campaign calling it "inconsistent" with others recently released.

"Our campaign has momentum, and for J.B. Pritzker to have spent $63 million on his campaign and still have a third of voters undecided proves that voters are looking for another option," a spokesman for Kennedy said in a statement, adding, "They want a leader who can bring radical change to our state government and a leader who isn’t afraid to challenger the political insiders who have been hurting our state. Chris Kennedy is that candidate."

A spokesman for Biss question the poll, wondering why, if Pritzker held such a comfortable lead, he would choose to run negative ads with a focus against Biss in the final week of the campaign.

"J.B. and Juliana [Stratton] have traveled extensively across the state, sharing their vision for moving Illinois forward and it's clear that their message is resonating," a spokeswoman for Pritzker said in a statement. 

"We're confident our statewide, grassroots campaign is ready to win this primary and beat Bruce Rauner in November," she added. 

The poll also gave some insight into the crowded Democratic race for Illinois attorney general, another that had a large pool of undecided voters.

Of the eight contenders, only two — former Gov. Pat Quinn and state Sen. Kwame Raoul — brought in a vote percentage above single digits, and none of the candidates claimed more than 25 percent of the vote.

Quinn had 23 percent, while Raoul had 15 percent, according to the poll. Nancy Rotering had the support of 6 percent of likely voters and Sharon Fairley 3.5 percent, while the other four candidates — Renato Mariotti, Jesse Ruiz, Scott Drury and Aaron Goldstein — had 3 percent or less.

However, 43 percent of voters were undecided in the race for attorney general — making it hard to make any predictions as to what may happen on March 20.

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